A car overturned after knocking down a pedestrian…Over 4,000 accidents a year involving elderly drivers continue to occur. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A car overturned after knocking down a pedestrian…Over 4,000 accidents a year involving elderly drivers continue to occur.

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The car driven by a 71-year-old man that plowed into the Ikuno Aiwa Hospital in Osaka (Image: Jiji Press)

Accidents involving vehicles driven by the elderly have been occurring one after another.

On March 1, a passenger car driven by a 71-year-old man plowed into “Ikuno Aiwa Hospital” in Ikuno Ward, Osaka City, killing a 75-year-old and an 86-year-old woman. The man, who was caught red-handed on suspicion of violating the Automobile Driving Punishment Law (manslaughter), told police that he “sneezed and lost consciousness.

There were no brake marks at the scene from about 70 meters ahead. It is believed that the driver reversed into oncoming traffic at a high rate of speed and drove onto the sidewalk and the hospital flower beds. The driver, a man, may have been unconscious” (reporter from the society section of a national newspaper).

On March 5, an 82-year-old man who had voluntarily surrendered his driver’s license was also involved in an accident. He took over driving a light car from his wife in a parking lot within the precincts of a temple in Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City, and ran over an 81-year-old woman, killing her. Although the accident was not on a public road and therefore did not constitute driving without a license, it was an irreversible situation.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, in 2021, 4,370 automobile accidents were caused by people aged 65 or older. While the overall number of accidents is on the decline, this is an increase of 124 cases over the previous year. FRIDAY has frequently witnessed automobile accidents caused by the elderly. We would like to sound the alarm about the reality of elderly drivers through graphic images taken at the scene.

Victim’s blood stains on the sidewalk

Cab driven by an elderly man overturned in Tokyo in March 2018.

It was in March 2006 that I encountered a severe rollover accident of a cab driven by an elderly person in Tokyo. We would like to look back on the accident, which appeared in the April 20 issue of this magazine that year (with some corrections).

Oh, look out!”

Mr. A, who was in his 30s and was sitting in the back seat, felt this way, and immediately afterward, the cab hit the sidewalk with a “thump! The taxi rolled over onto the sidewalk with a violent crash sound. A man walking on the sidewalk was knocked down by the cab and hit his head, sustaining serious injuries. The man’s blood stains remained at the scene. The cab driver was an elderly man over 65 years old.

Mr. A, a passenger, recalled at the time.

I got in the cab on March 26, 2018, around 10:00 p.m. The accident occurred in (Tokyo Metropolitan City). The accident happened just past JR Nishi Ogikubo station (in Suginami Ward, Tokyo). The driver started to operate the car navigation system, as if he didn’t know the land. I was quite close to the sidewalk, so I thought, ‘I hope he’s OK. ……

The person who was run over bled from the head and was immediately transported by ambulance, but I only hit my neck on the window of the cab. The driver, who was left in the driver’s seat, was not rescued until about 30 minutes after the accident.”

A journalist who has covered many automobile accidents involving the elderly said, “The causes of accidents involving the elderly are not always the same.

There are three possible causes of accidents involving the elderly. The first is a decline in vision; the second is a decline in cognitive judgment of pedestrians, oncoming traffic, etc. The third is a problem with awareness. Elderly people who have been driving for a long time have an overconfidence that they can drive the same way they did when they were younger. This attitude may lead to accidents.

Even on a familiar road or in a parking lot at home, an elderly person should voluntarily go to a hospital for a checkup if he or she has a near-miss experience, such as almost hitting a car body. If the person refuses, it is important for the family to gently encourage him or her to go to the hospital ‘just in case. If the patient’s cognitive abilities weaken, it can be very dangerous.

It seems that the belief that “I am fine” can lead to disaster. If you feel that you are in danger, do not jump to conclusions on your own, but consult with your family and other relevant organizations to prevent accidents.

Victim run over by a cab driven by an elderly person (photo partially doctored)
In February 2018, a car driven by a 78-year-old lawyer went out of control. It plowed into a hardware store in Minato-ku, Tokyo.
The scene of a runaway car accident in Higashi Ikebukuro, Tokyo, in April 2019. The driver was an 87-year-old (at the time) man
The scene of a runaway car accident in Higashi Ikebukuro, Tokyo, in April 2019.
The scene of a runaway car accident that occurred in Higashi Ikebukuro, Tokyo, in April 2019
The scene of a runaway auto accident in Higashi-Ikebukuro, Tokyo, in April 2019
Kozo Iizuka, who caused a runaway car accident in Higashi-Ikebukuro, Tokyo; sentenced to five years in prison in September 2021
Many flowers and food in mourning for the mother and child who lost their lives immediately after the runaway car accident in Higashi Ikebukuro, Tokyo
  • PHOTO Shinji Hamasaki, Shinji Hasuo, Takayoshi Yamazaki, Jiji Press

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